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Stitch Action Photography 


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Stitch Action Photography 

Written By: Pauric OCallaghan 


• Camera (1) 

with an action sequence mode. 

• Computer (1) 


It's very rewarding to create a picture that conveys more than what a single image can 
capture. Whether the picture is of baby's first steps or an Olympic gymnast's somersault, 
the process at work conveys motion in a static image. Stitching multiple images together is 
a form of time-lapse photography. In traditional time-lapse the output is a video. But here 
we'll place each frame on top of the other, allowing viewers to replay the action in their 
minds. Photo sequencing only works when the object moves across a static background. A 
dog performing a series of tricks at a show works well; a runner directly approaching the 
camera does not. Subjects can be anything from a bird in flight to a snowboarder's jump. 

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Stitch Action Photography 

First, you need a graphics application that handles multiple layers, and it's easier if you 
have a graphics pen. A mouse is OK, but a bit cumbersome. 

Create your canvas, the space in which your photos will be laid out, with a height that's 
double the image, and a width equaling all images laid end to end. 

If you have three pictures, each 800x600 pixels, your canvas will be 2400x1200 pixels. 
Place your images on the canvas, giving each its own layer. Place image 1 in the first 
layer, image 2 in the second layer, etc. 

If the photographer panned the camera during the sequence, you need to line up the 
background. I used the horizon for vertical alignment, and spaced the rider evenly for 
horizontal alignment. The waves were moving, so I had no other point of reference 
between images. 

Start by aligning images 1 and 2, turn other images to "invisible," and set image 2 to 50% 
transparent. Then move image 2 around until you are set. Repeat with image 3 at 50% 
over 2, and so on. 

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Stitch Action Photography 

Layer 2 

Layer 1 

Now the real fun begins. This is where having a graphics pen helps. Similar to the 
alignment step, set image 2 to 50-80% transparent (don't adjust image 1), and turn all the 
other images to 100% transparent/invisible/off. 

Approach editing as you would a set of stairs. Step 1 sits at the bottom, 2 sits on top of 1 , 
and 3 sits on top of 2. Cut away any part of the second step as long as there is a piece of 
the first step below it. If you cut too much away, you will see all the way into the 
basement, aka the background layer. 

When taking the photograph, capture more back- ground rather than focusing in on the 
object. Turn off auto features for shutter speed and aperture; all images should have the 
same brightness and contrast. And be familiar with the computer's "undo" feature. Good 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02 . pages 117-118. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1-03 01 :01 :40 AM. 

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